The Unrelenting Pursuit of an Extraordinary Life: I’m Inspired to Blog Because…

Waldorf star lanternsThe baby – he’s halfway done with his second year, but he’ll be THE baby for a long time – stirs in his sleep, restlessly pecking at my arm, indicating his intent to feed. I wait a few seconds before acquiescing, whereupon the tiny being beside me escalates his message of demand by grabbing my top in resolute search of the source of his nourishment and comfort. I look at the time. It’s half past four. I start to weigh my chances of being able to get some more sleep and end up running a mental list of all the things I need to do instead. At the top of my mind is my part-time work. I have a noon deadline and still have all 3 articles to write. Now is the time to get those out of the way. As soon as the baby unlatches, I turn on my computer from hibernate mode, and tiptoe to the bathroom for my morning ritual. Afterward, as I reacquaint myself with the various tabs I left open the night before, I whip out my devotional, have a quick read, and utter a short prayer. Most of the time, it’s a silent wail for help. In the silence of the morning, the day still so fresh and unspent, I sag at the weight of the expected demands of the day. However, assured by God’s promise of help, I buck up and get started on tasks that can be done simultaneously. Basically, I alternate between writing and nursing, and then writing and getting the baby’s and my breakfast. Later, I juggle writing with attending to the needs of two more people who have now woken up. I know I should have done my writing the night before, but the kids were bent on sabotage and didn’t go to sleep until I was so exhausted that all I could do was open a couple of references. And even then my head kept on pathetically bobbing forward in fits and spurts of persistent slumber. Time is gold, however, and there’s none available for ruing last night’s inability to get any work done. I do a desperate task edit to see if there’s any chance I can get baths done this morning, mine included preferably. I dismiss the hope and resolve to schedule baths right after lunch. In the interim, I alternate writing, entertaining the baby, and homeschooling my daughter. It’s not even 9:30am and the day is not about to let up… How dare I try to fit blogging into that crazy schedule!?!

“Why do you blog?” That’s a pretty loaded question. It comes with unspoken judgment. There’s no need for it. With all that I already have to do in a day, blogging just seems like a poor choice – nothing more than pure indulgence. However, I love to write, and since I can’t muster the energy, concentration, and commitment to regularly write fiction and poetry like I used to, blogging seems to me the next best thing; I get to choose what to write and how to write it.

But it’s not only about sating the writer’s soul. If I were to finally be blessed with my own house, I would resolve to make it a place from which goodness emanates. The same applies to my blog, even if it’s merely virtual real estate. I’ve previously mentioned my natural tendency to be negative. I may have the propensity to always regard and react as though I were perpetually having a Jonah Day (I have the possibly annoying habit of sourcing my language from the Anne of Green Gables series), but I believe I’ve attained sufficient maturity to realize that there’s a better way of living my life. For this reason, I created this blog to be a consciously positive space.

But, yet again, it’s not only about that deliberate effort to have a positive element in my life. Our Lemonade Days is, more than anything else, a tool. On our wedding day, I vowed to my husband to always bring beauty, poetry, wonder, etc. into our life. When each of our children was born, I made a similar promise to the newborn I held in my arms. As a matter of fact, I believe I made an extraordinary life filled with joy and creativity a personal goal long before I even got married. Definitely, the conviction to homeschool came upon me pre-marriage and pre-children as well. Somehow, the goal and the conviction are intertwined, probably stemming from the same propulsor in my genetic makeup. The thing about life is that it’s so easy to neglect such noble aspirations as one gets lost in the pursuit of mundane matters. In my case, I find that blogging induces introspection, an evaluation of my efforts, and an honest assessment of the life I’m making for myself, which certainly influences that of my family.

Many people blog to reach out and be included in a community of like-minded individuals. That’s also my intent. Mommy bloggers wish to have a concrete record of their children’s precious moments. Again, I have the same hope. Our Lemonade Days is, indeed, a chronicle of our days. To me, this is paramount. Don’t you find it sheer agony to fail at bringing to mind a face or a moment in time with perfect clarity? While a blog is an efficient documentation tool that can be browsed through with the purpose of recalling memories, capturing nuances of time, etc., it’s definitely more than that for me. It is the fuel for consistent refocusing, for making sure that I have the right perspective in place. With it, I’m able to keep within the path I should be taking if I want to make good on the promises I’d made. In a nutshell, I am inspired to blog because I and, consequently, my family greatly benefit from it.

When I find myself succumbing to my negative nature, when I find myself drowning in the mundane and inessential, my blog leads me back to the right path, reminding me, “These are the things that are truly important to you, and this is the life that you want.”

*This post is my entry to DaintyMom.com’s Blogaversary Giveaway Contest.

Memory Jar: A Question for Every Week of the Year

memory jar printableI got this wonderful freebie from Paper Coterie. It’s a memory jar printable with 52 questions for you to answer, one for each week of the year. It would have been more ideal if you’d started at the beginning of the year, but that’s not really a problem; you can easily catch up or use a different schedule altogether. They were designed to serve as prompts for entries into your journal or blog, but they can also be used as icebreakers or topic cues for bonding moments between friends or family members. Or for interaction with your website visitors.

memory jar and journalWhat we’ve been doing is using the questions as discussion prompts in our family, although we’re also recording our answers in a journal. Basically, you just cut out the individual question strips and put them in a jar. Since our kids (6.5 and 1.5) will be handling it as well, we opted for a plastic one (a now empty container of kiddie multivitamins). Every week, you take out a question and use it for journaling, blogging, group discussion, etc. While we normally include our daughter in the discussion, some of the questions just weren’t suitable for kids. In any case, the activity gives you further insight into another person’s thought processes, or even just your own. You could very well make new discoveries about yourself! I’m thinking of going through the same set of questions every year to see if any of our answers will change. While I assume that my answers and Mark’s will likely remain the same, the kids’ (Cameron can join when he’s more verbal, lol) certainly won’t, and it would be fascinating to observe how their personalities develop through the years from chronicling their changing answers to the same questions.

Here’s another twist to this already great idea. Every week, as you take out one question strip, replace it with a note that bears the highlights of that week. Naturally, you have to use a different paper color or shape to avoid confusing it with a question strip. At the end of the year, when you run out of questions, your jar will be filled with actual memories. You could make reading those memories out loud part of your New Year’s Eve celebration.

recycled into a memory jarglue residue on jarIf you plan to create your own memory jar, here’s a tip for removing sticky glue residue from the label. Use peanut butter. I read the tip online and decided to try it. The easier option, which suggested rubbing alcohol, didn’t really work. I thought the peanut butter trick wouldn’t work either, but I put the jar down for a minute after rubbing a small amount of peanut butter on it. When I picked it up again, I thought to try wiping off the glue residue again and it easily rubbed off. Of course, I could have gone to the sink and scrubbed the jar clean, but that process somehow struck me as too involved, lol.

Do you follow a similar journaling or blogging practice? Do you keep a memory jar? Do you have your own tip for removing glue gunk from jars? Share them all here. 🙂

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